Federal Funds for South Station Expansion

CantabAmager

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There is nothing (but cost) to prevent you from going UNDER the current tracks for another level. The Bus Station had to straddle the tracks, so you know where those footers are.

Basically create a near duplicate platform "under". Complex construction -- sure. But make it as a threat to the USPS (we don't really need you!). Many stations in Europe are dual level like that.
How would that affect the plans to renovate Tower 1 and 4 of the 5 approach interlockings? Those projects, along with the expanded layovers, are just as vital to SSX terminal capacity needs as the 7 extra tracks. Even then SS will triple in size under the current plan (200,000sf + expansion 410,000 sf), I see stacking the platforms + concourse as a more expensive objective than eating up USPS. Gobble up USPS or die.
 

JeffDowntown

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How would that affect the plans to renovate Tower 1 and 4 of the 5 approach interlockings? Those projects, along with the expanded layovers, are just as vital to SSX terminal capacity needs as the 7 extra tracks. Even then SS will triple in size under the current plan (200,000sf + expansion 410,000 sf), I see stacking the platforms + concourse as a more expensive objective than eating up USPS. Gobble up USPS or die.
Don't misunderstand, gobbling up USPS is the objective. But if USPS is unreasonable, you need a bargaining ploy. If you won't sell for a reasonable price we'll just have to....
 

CantabAmager

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Don't misunderstand, gobbling up USPS is the objective. But if USPS is unreasonable, you need a bargaining ploy. If you won't sell for a reasonable price we'll just have to....
I feel ya. I just don't think there's much leverage for MassDOT - they have no alternatives to terminal upgrades at SS (at least in any of documentation that they've released about the project), the only alternatives studies they've produced have been for layover facilities and a min/max build on the USPS lot. I think the USPS knows this too, they're unfortunately holding all the meaningful cards here.

The other question, or maybe the more immediately important one, is whether MassDOT can start interlocking/layover work before the land-swap is hammered out with the Postal boys.
 

JeffDowntown

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I feel ya. I just don't think there's much leverage for MassDOT - they have no alternatives to terminal upgrades at SS (at least in any of documentation that they've released about the project), the only alternatives studies they've produced have been for layover facilities and a min/max build on the USPS lot. I think the USPS knows this too, they're unfortunately holding all the meaningful cards here.

The other question, or maybe the more immediately important one, is whether MassDOT can start interlocking/layover work before the land-swap is hammered out with the Postal boys.
So I guess the only leverage is Congressional leverage, to throw the USPS into receivership over their pension debacle, so they HAVE to sell off assets.
 

whighlander

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So I guess the only leverage is Congressional leverage, to throw the USPS into receivership over their pension debacle, so they HAVE to sell off assets.
Jeff -- No -- all you need is to just wait a few more years -- at the current rate of the drop in demand for USPS first class mail -- it will disappear as a functional entity in the next decade and wont need any general mail processing facilities -- [Although of course as a quasi-gov't corporation it will still be on the books eating cash for retiree benefits for decades]

USPS best bet in the meantime is to directly cut a good financial deal with a deep pockets private developer -- just like Volpe

The USPS gets a small modern place close to a good highway interchange such as the old Edison Plant area next to the Reserve Channel

The DOT gets its tracks

The public gets access to Dot Ave with a wide sidewalk on each side improving immeasurably the use of the Fort Point Channel

The developer gets to put up something of the order of 2M sq ft of office and housing in several buildings with some retail along Dot Ave
 

whighlander

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As an aside - -where are all the Boston 2024 Olympic developers who were going to build on top of a deck over the train yards at Widett Circle

Here's your challenge -- Gather your selves up add some of the more reasonable of the No-Bos-Olympic -- not the BANANAs [Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything]
talk to the USPS and make a proposal to solve this Sysiphean or would that be Tantalizing situation
 

whighlander

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New from Mass DOT -- South Station Expansion is moving forward with draft FEIR and Public Meetings

Wonder if the newly minted Chinese $ aimed at the seemingly moribund South Station Tower has started the ball rolling with USPS?

Just asking ;)

The FEIR consists of four primary components:
  • Expanding South Station to accommodate additional platforms, tracks, a new expanded headhouse, and passenger amenities
  • Acquiring and demolishing the United States Postal Service (USPS) facility
  • Constructing rail layover facilities at Widett Circle and Readville – Yard 2
  • Reopening Dorchester Avenue and extending the Harborwalk

MassDOT is developing the FEIR filing schedule, public meeting date and additional materials. We will share the schedule for filing the FEIR with the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs as soon as details are available. There will be a public meeting on the FEIR during the comment period.

In preparing for the release of the FEIR document, MassDOT is hosting two community meetings in neighborhoods near the proposed midday layover facilities. On Tuesday, June 7, there will be a meeting in the Community Room at Boston Police District E-18, 1249 Hyde Park Avenue, Hyde Park, at 6:00 PM. On Wednesday, June 8, there will be a meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott-South Boston, 63 R Boston Street, South Boston, at 6:00 PM. Please visit the project website for meeting flyers and project materials.
 

Shepard

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I know we discuss this often but I can never get this straight - does this have anything to do with USPS?
 

Equilibria

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I know we discuss this often but I can never get this straight - does this have anything to do with USPS?
The project does, but the FEIR doesn't. Just because the planning documents talk about how they'll acquire USPS doesn't mean that they have a deal to get USPS to move, it just means they've advanced their regulatory approvals once they get one.
 

whighlander

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I know we discuss this often but I can never get this straight - does this have anything to do with USPS?
Sheppard -- Yes -- the USPS facility has to go for the track expansion -- USPS is sitting on where the track were located when there were many more of them

You need to get F-Line to provide the details of the changed geometry -- but to make the answert simple -- take the USPS building -- add several tracks and platforms and then develop some on the footprint, open Dot Ave and voila a New South Station -- a bit like what was there 100 years ago
 

whighlander

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The project does, but the FEIR doesn't. Just because the planning documents talk about how they'll acquire USPS doesn't mean that they have a deal to get USPS to move, it just means they've advanced their regulatory approvals once they get one.
Equilibria -- I'm guessing that there's been some talking with Hines and the new investment partner

Anyway the Mass DOT website for the South Station Expansion has been update for the first time in quite a while

http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/southstationexpansion/Home.aspx
 

Semass

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It is good that this is moving to FEIR stage but I do not think it has anything to do with the tower. The Tower, the Expansion, and the NSRL are three projects in the same space but each could be completed fully independent of the other. The Tower does not need the expansion but the expansion would fit neatly into the overall plans for the tower and the terminal area. The tower is only planned over the existing tracks. Likewise, the expansion could easily occur without the tower but the tower is considered in the planning for the expansion.
Since it has been a couple of years since the certificate, that strikes me as a typical time frame for a public project to go from DEIR to FEIR. Proposed investors in an unrelated project would not move this process any faster.
 

CSTH

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The Tower, the Expansion, and the NSRL are three projects in the same space but each could be completed fully independent of the other.
This may be true, but it also seems ... crazy. The engineering and logistics get easier if you do them together. And the business case / payback has to be a lot more attractive from an integrated approach. The only thing that's harder is ...stakeholders.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The expansion is for 7 more tracks (for a total of 20), 4 more island platforms, reconfigured switches spread out more gradually to eliminate all the conflicts caused by the currently pinched geometry, and lengthening of all the short 6-car platforms on the Old Colony side to full- MBTA spec 9-car length.

It's not Old South Station before the 1960's chop-down, which had 28 platform tracks. The Pike vent building foundation makes it impossible to swing any further out, so they're capped by geometry at +7 tracks. That is why Dot Ave. is getting its row of redev buildings along the whole block instead of station facilities extending all the way to the sidewalk. 20 tracks will be utterly inexhaustible when you consider that any further capacity expansion up to the tippy top of the rail system's native capability is going to come from NSRL double-barreling underground with a full-use surface terminal. This is the real 100-year fix for the surface; there will never be a need to touch the track level under the air rights ever again.
 

Semass

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This may be true, but it also seems ... crazy. The engineering and logistics get easier if you do them together. And the business case / payback has to be a lot more attractive from an integrated approach. The only thing that's harder is ...stakeholders.
Yes. You are probably right but the timeframes don't align. Even if the USPS agreed this afternoon to a deal, I suspect that the South Station Tower would be up and occupied before a wrecking ball started in in the Post Office Building. Likewise, the NSRL would still be on paper.
 

whighlander

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Yes. You are probably right but the timeframes don't align. Even if the USPS agreed this afternoon to a deal, I suspect that the South Station Tower would be up and occupied before a wrecking ball started in in the Post Office Building. Likewise, the NSRL would still be on paper.
Semass -- I'm speculating here -- But I think this is a viable scenario based on the availability of a lot of new Chinese Money

  • Phase 1 -- Hines Tower design finalized -- construction schedule finalized
  • Phase 2 -- Hines ./ Chinese files un-solicitied proposal to be the developer for the South Station Expansion including buy outs of USPS building and USPS Parking Lot [A street]
  • Phase 3 -- Massport or BRA aranges land swap with USPS for new facility close enough to one of the large parking garages [either existing or to be built] off Summer Street near the Reserve Channel
  • Phase 4 -- Hines builds SS Tower
  • Phase 5 -- USPS vacates old and builds new facility
  • Phase 6 -- USPS occupies and operates new facility
  • Phase 7 -- Hines clears USPS site and sells some of the land aquired in Phase 2 to [Skansa or some other developer]
  • Phase 8 -- Hines builds expanded South Station and Pru like complex of smaller buildings on USPS footprint
  • Phase 9 -- Skansa or someone else builds on old USPS parking lot
  • Phase 10 -- Dorchester Avee reastored and new Harborwalk along Fort Point Channel opens with new foot bridge to GE Park
First 3 should be done within a year
Phase 7 should be done in 5 years with possibly all 10 done in 5 years optimizticly [with GE's encouragement]
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Slides from the MassDOT Board's July meeting about SSX. Includes updated renders including layout of the reconfigured Dot Ave. 30% design and FEIR are proceeding, since they have until June 2017 to use up the $32.5M federal grant or else they're on-the-hook for re-paying it.

http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/About_the_T/Board_Meetings/SouthStationExpansion.pdf


The Dot Ave. concepts are new, but otherwise station bread-and-butter is mostly straightforward stuff we've seen before (and intentionally TBD on size/scope of the headhouse). I imagine this Board presentation is going to lead to kickoff of some public meetings pretty soon where you'll be able to give your own two cents.
 

JeffDowntown

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Small but important step to help move SSX along. Massport and US Army Corp. of Engineers seem close to a deal for the land swap, small acreage in South Boston for a building at Devens. This would enable the separate deal to get the US Postal facility moved to South Boston (gives Massport the contiguous acreage in South Boston for the mail facility deal).

http://www.bostonherald.com/busines...7/05/mail_facility_may_get_new_home_in_boston
 

falcon42

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So is the mixed use/retail play along the water being scrapped? If so, seems like a giant miss.
 

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